George Dickel 15 Year Tennessee Single Barrel
Tennessee Whiskey — Tennessee, USA
Reviewed March 19, 2021 (edited October 21, 2021)
Getting back to tasting with some bourbon. Dry January. Check. Chilly February. Check. March madness. Checking. Let’s begin. Saw this at TW for $60 and figured that a well-aged, single barrel + cask strength Tennessee bourbon for that price was a decent & promising way to get back into the swing of things. Also helped by the fact that it came with a 10% promotional discount on top. So on the specs, I was thinking this was a GREAT deal.... even as my “too good to be true” red flag was on overdrive. Most 15Yr old bourbons on the market are typically north of $160 - $250. So I’m either on to something or about to find out that you get what you pay for. Can’t be that bad can it? Let’s jump in. Nose - sweet vanilla-flavored nail polish remover. As I bury my nose deeper into the glass, I get a deeply-perfumed, light & floral maple syrup. Then an aroma I can best describe as caramel-dipped oak and vanilla-soaked leather comes through in a clutch. If you can imagine the smell of a cologne modeled after grade A Canadian maple syrup + vanilla bean extract and toffee, you would be spot on. SUPER perfume(y) the nose was! But all the aromas were playing in a well-orchestrated concert. No distinguishable alcohol burn even at cask strength, which speaks to the time in oak. This nose is unbelievable! This nose is divine. This nose is something else. Can’t wait to taste! Palate: Enters sweet and creamy but with an immediate accompanying oak bitterness...bordering on being over-oaked. Coin toss. Another sip. Scratch that. It crossed deep past the oaky borderline and is a full-on oakville citizen. Oh no! Some water and air time opens this up significantly. Now I get stewed fruit jam intermingling with hard toffee, chewy caramel and dark brown sugar. The bitter oak now softens up and balances the fruit. Mouthfeel before the H2O is dense and oily, leaving a thick coating. Mouthfeel with H2O is still oily but much better balancing the bittersweet line. So far, the nose definitely promised more than the palate delivered. Finish is looonng...and bitter. Leaves a clingy oily coating on the inside of your teeth with a burnt vanilla after-taste on your tongue and a flickering of mint on the side walls of your inner mouth. TMI? Overall, there’s just too much oak influence, which is disappointing. The bit of fruity spiciness was pleasant but didn’t completely mitigate the bitterness. I’ve always thought I would be a fan of more oak but this is a bit much. Rating: No question, the nose is a 4+ star but palate and finish leave something to be desired. I started this at 2.25 stars but it has improved with time + H2O. I find myself going back for more, which counts for something. I’m landing at 3.5. It IS good or becomes good...with some patience and proper coaxing. Yes, there’s probably a more appropo, albeit risqué, analogy that comes to mind here but I’m keeping this PG-family rated. I may come back later with updated review + score as I suspect this will continue to evolve...or maybe it’ll just be my palate adjusting. Who knows... Sláinte PoD!